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So... About Last Night's Episode Of 'The Walking Dead'...

by Tambay A. Obenson
November 5, 2012 10:04 AM
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T-dog Walking Dead

Well, it finally happened on last night's episode. If you haven't watched it yet, you may want to skip this post, and the comment section as well, if you don't want your anticipation spoiled, because some shit went down last night that I'd like to get your thoughts on - especially those who are die-hard fans of not only the series, but the source material as well.

In short, one black man has essentially been replaced by another; T-Dog's gone; and Oscar (who committed a "black on black crime" as I joked on Facebook and Twitter last night), appears to now to be taking over the single, vacated "Black Man slot" on the show. 

This came as a surprise to me given what the show's producers suggested would happen with T-Dog this season, before the season began - that he'll come into his own; that he'd be far more useful and effective, and become his own man, etc.

I guess sacrificing himself to save others, can be viewed in that light.

By the way, Oscar is played by actor Vincent Ward.

T-Dog and now Oscar - both pretty much effete; you've already heard all the gripes about T-Dog's lack of a presence in the show; and, in last night's episode, in one single action, Oscar pretty much tells us that he's going to follow, instead of lead in any way. If you saw the episode, I think you know what I mean; Not shooting brothaman in defence of Rick, but what he does immediately after that.

Just don't tell any of this to the show's producer and creator. 

Here's an excerpt from an interview with THR last night/this morning about the episode:

What made it the time for T-Dog to go -- especially considering you've already got the emotional wallop of Lori's death?

Mazzara: We felt he needed to be a hero. Sometimes when we break these stories, if the death feels real and escaping the death feels like a TV cheat we have to go with the death. It wasn't an easy decision and it was our most heroic death. Up until this moment we haven't had heroic deaths. I don't think Dale or Shane died heroically; we haven't had that and here we have two heroic deaths -- T-Dog and Lori, who sacrifices herself for redemption. That's important to show how much we love these characters, it's a particularly heartbreaking episode because those deaths are heroic.

Kirkman: It was important for us to us to show that there was quite a bit of chaos going on. Losing two characters and possibly three because we really don't know what's going on with Carol -- was pretty important to us. T-Dog really stepped it up this season and had become core member of Rick's strike team. We wanted to show in his loss just how important this character had become and how heroic he was so that he would be missed that much more. T-Dog knowing that he was about to die and take it upon himself to do everything he could to save Carol's really showed how much of a loss this guy is going to be.

Do you agree - especially with Kirkman's statement that T-Dog "really stepped it up this season," and how much of a loss he'll be now that he's gone? I'm not so sure anybody (cast or audience) will miss him. Will you?

And what's Oscar's role going to be from here on? We'll just have to wait and find out; but, like I said, he's demonstrated that he's likely just going to take over the same slot that T-Dog previously occupied.

Can't have more than 2 or 3 black people on the same mainstream show at the same time. So we now have Oscar and Michonne

And speaking of Michonne, I'm still waiting for her to really shine, especially given the months of hype around her character, and how much of a presence she's really going to be on the show.

I don't understand why she continues to cling to Andrea, when it doesn't appear to me that she needs her; Michonne clearly wants to leave, but Andrea continues to come up with reasons not to. So, why doesn't Michonne just leave? Unless I'm just missing something.

Obviously we're only 3 episodes in, so there's still a lot of zombie slaying to come, and new characters to develop. So a lot could change very quickly. 

I think that the producers believe that if a black character leads, they'd have to focus on race; or his/her race would have to be addressed as the stories unfold, and they just don't want to have to deal with that. It's easier to put a black character in the periphery, so that they don't have to really dig into the mind, the thinking, the life and experiences of said black man or woman, as they would have to if they were leading like Rick.

We'll see how this goes from here...

Thoughts from you folks...???

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  • Dankwa Brooks | November 8, 2012 2:02 PMReply

    I didn't like T-Dog and I ALWAYS like the black guy! No shade on Singleton though, I blame the writers more than anyone for the lack of character development. I'm also not feeling The Governor and Michonne yet either, but I'll admit it's still early in the season.

  • Melody | November 6, 2012 12:22 AMReply

    SMH at that interview. First off -- that Lori died heroically thing is BS. It wasn't a heroic death, it was an eventual death. Carl having to shoot her was more shocking and awful to me than Lori's actual death (Why the hell couldn't Maggie shoot her and spare Carl?). Everybody knew Lori was gonna die giving birth. It smacked more of assisted suicide to me than sacrificing herself for the kids. So Mazzara needs to sit down with that mess. Second -- I am so mad that T-Dog not only died, but that he had to die a needlessly brutal death. And for what? For Carol's stupid butt?? Because he was talking about doing the right thing? It's like as soon as a character starts talking sense, they have to die ASAP. His call for compassion sounded just like Dale's humanity speech on the farm. It's like, finally, T-Dog speaks and he dies 5 minutes later. What's up with that!? I also hate that T-Dog's death got overshadowed by Lori's. It's like, damn! T-Dog can't have anything on this show -- not even his own unique mourning period!

  • Alex | November 12, 2012 8:45 PM

    Didn't you watch the show at all? Carl DEMANDED to shoot Lori, because it was his mother. That was one of the saddest parts. Lori's was a case of either or. Maggie pointed out that if she continued to push then the baby would have died, probably both of them, so Lori chose to die for certain in order to give her baby a fighting chance. Pretty heroic.

  • Adrienne | November 5, 2012 10:33 PMReply

    Let me preface that I love this show; however, how they deal with Black characters is becoming increasingly frustrating.

    T-Dog was made impotent through most of show's seasons. His original interactions with racist Merle (in season 1) were more palatable as he came off as being the bigger person during their arguments, but there was still some anger simmering beneath the surface of T-Dog's altruistic acts. I'm so mad that his character was never more than a security guard for the group --no love interest (even nerdy Glenn got that), no desires, no expectations, no hopes, etc. He (IronE Singleton) did the best with the character which was nothing more than a cardboard prop and a vehicle to move the story along.

    I think Michonne is doomed to the same fate as the other Black characters. The show's creators and AMC couldn't even give Danai Gurira's character *some of* the credit for the record-breaking premiere. (Everyone I knew was tuning in really to see her after last season's cliff hanger.) Her character is supposed to be strong, but the show's creators only have her walking around glaring...and we don't know WHY! (Maybe that's the point or maybe the show's creators are unfairly pushing the "angry Black woman" stereotype --I haven't figured it out yet.) I agree with Steven that the Michonne character is way more interesting in the graphic novels and I, too, have no clue why she's clinging to Andrea. (I figured maybe they were implying a crush.) They really need some better writers on that show --especially writers that have a clue about Black people. I think Chandler Riggs (the kid) has more motivation and character development than all of the Black characters on that show...

  • James Nelson | November 7, 2012 8:05 AM

    I don't think that they can get better writers than they have. The problem is that current screenwriters working in the industry don't know how to write for a p.o.c. character. They think they have to amp up the "blackness" of the character and not let them be human beings. I remember being frustrated over this watching Alias, hoping they might beef up the characterization of the BBF, and then they killed her, replaced her with a look-alike, and STILL didn't know what to do with the character!

    The hope for decent roles for black people is not going to come from television or Hollywood films.

  • Donella | November 6, 2012 5:06 PM

    "They really need some better writers on that show --especially writers that have a clue about Black people." From your keyboard to the producer's ears.

  • Everette | November 5, 2012 11:27 PM

    You know, I read your posts twice and had to ponder for a second. "Why she's clinging to Andrea?", I figure that it might have been the result of merging some character personalities from the books and maybe it is coming to fruition in their relationship. But honestly I think you are right about the show going in the direction of having these Black characters follow. If they are implying a relationship between those two show it, but I'm getting the vibe that Mich cares about Andrea, and we all know Andrea cares about no one. It is starting to make Mich look like a little puppy, just like T-Dog.

  • Marie | November 5, 2012 10:30 PMReply

    I love that Michonne seems to be one of the more intelligent survivors. The things she noticed about the bullet holes/blood on the tank and her skepticism at the Governor's explanations were perfect. There was also an appearance by the Black doctor that treated Andrea. Maybe there'll be more of her. Ha, who am I kidding?! As for T-Dogg/Oscar, are they telling me that Black men are just that easily interchangeable one for another? Would it be too much to ask to have two Black characters bonding in the zombie apocalypse? I refuse to believe a handful of people didn't survive in the College Park area.

  • Donella | November 6, 2012 5:04 PM

    "Would it be too much to ask to have two Black characters bonding in the zombie apocalypse?" I do not believe the White writers hired for the show have sufficient skill to do that... from what we've seen so far.

  • Everette | November 5, 2012 11:14 PM

    Yeah, I liked the detective work to Marie; but the fact remains that she completely threw those observations out the window by openly flirting her evidence gathering in the "da guvners" face. The writers should have been ashamed. Also agree on the College Park thing. Obviously--based in the shows demographics--everyone in ATL was zombied. Must be nice in those small Georgia towns...

  • Adam Scott Thompson | November 5, 2012 10:28 PMReply

    I knew T-Dog was close to the end when he read Rick the "What'chu talkin' bout, Willis?" riot act after they decided to kick out the two cons. Shout-out to Kesan from "G's to Gents" for hangin' tough -- the surprise of the episode!

  • QBN | November 5, 2012 7:24 PMReply

    I love Michonne.. or rather Danai Gurira. That is one sweet mahogany sista, and she's the only reason I came back to watch season 3. So far so good..

  • Steven Sanders | November 5, 2012 2:25 PMReply

    I'm not sold on Glen Mazzara as a showrunner because of the Sophia plot line that took up 6 episodes to execute. With that being said I'm a fan of the source material and Frank Darabont who originally developed the show, this is probably why I will continue to watch. I think T-Dog's character was just a live prop (no offense to IronE). They didn't give his character anything to do or say that was important or push the story forward. They even made him appear inept in a couple of episodes. I'm really apathetic towards his character staying or leaving. Michonne, on the other hand, I really hope they nail her character because she really is an interesting character in the graphic novels. Her character is definitely more of an introvert than extrovert so I'm not that surprise of her lack of dialogue. I disagree with Mazzara on Lori's death it wasn't heroic, it was selfish because she was trying to escape guilt. She didn't even want to have the baby in the beginning. Both deaths just seem like character management decisions that had to be made.

  • Steven | November 5, 2012 4:07 PM

    She becomes a vital member of the group once they're on the road. Essentially, she's like a female version of Rick, silent and deadly, and she's becomes involved with the Lennie James' character and Tyrese but they veered so much from the graphic novel I don't know what direction the show is going.

  • Troy | November 5, 2012 3:40 PM

    Haven't seen the source material watch the show from the beginning, and I live in Atlanta. What does Michonne do interesting in the graphic novel?

  • Anton | November 5, 2012 1:52 PMReply

    Unfortunately, all the black characters on The Walking Dead are paper thin. Hell on Wheels is the only AMC show where the black characters are more three-dimensional. (One can say Breaking Bad's Gus Fring perhaps took amazing characterization of a black character even further than Hell on Wheels.) I know T-Dog wasn't going to last that long, but damn, after two season I was hoping the writers gave him more personality. After humiliating him in season one with Merl spitting in his face and calling him n*gg*r, I thought the least they can do was make T-Dog something more than the token brother. Nope! He was nothing more than a Pet Negro on the show. "T-Dog, go watch the gate; T-Dog go check on Lori and Carl; T-Dog go guard Hershel." That's why he was so easily replaceable with yet ANOTHER bald brother with no personality. IronE Singleton is a great actor -- as are the other cast members of The Walking Dead -- but the writers didn't give him much to work with. He did the best he could do with the cardboard cutout character he had to play.

  • Yun | November 14, 2012 8:00 PM

    Hey man, at least you have multiple black characters. We get the Asian kid from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

  • Alex | November 12, 2012 8:48 PM

    No Everette..just no.

    Please refer yourself to the UK play BLACKTA. I don't know what your on about we have like the only 2 shows your on about, and i'm sorry Zawe Ashton on FM is brilliant but is given ust as much or even less screen time as the FIVE other white characters.

  • Everette | November 5, 2012 11:21 PM

    Hey, get it right now. The black characters in American television shows are three dimensional. There are some pretty deep characters on a lot of the UK shows. in fact the supporting Black characters on those shows tend to overshadow the leads. Catch Misfits or Fresh Meat. But back to the cookie cutter approach to the black characters you are dead right. I feel as if T-Dog had to die to balance out Lori's death.

  • DAX | November 5, 2012 1:38 PMReply

    The actor Irone Singelton talked about in an interview "you're gonna get to see a lot more of T-Dog this year!" I saw you get bit last night that's what I saw! The most unused character I have ever seen on a character driven show period!

  • nelson james | November 7, 2012 8:16 AM

    I've noticed that in most ensemble television shows (and movies even) if there is a black character, no many how many seasons the show (or how long the movie) runs when all is said and done the black character will be the character that you know the least about, they will be the ones with the shortest character arcs (oft-times just dropped) the character with no love life, and the character that appears to never have a life except when they are in the company of the shows main (white) stars. This is extremely noticeable in genre shows like
    'The Walking Dead'. Remember how for about 3 to 4 seasons DS 9 didn't know what to do with the character of Sisko? And he was the freakin' Captain! The only ST series to date to have multiple eps where the Captain played no active part in the plots.

  • Ashley Akunna | November 5, 2012 10:19 PM

    Baaahhaaahhha. I laughed out loud when I saw this. Too funny.

  • Donella | November 5, 2012 11:43 AMReply

    "Thoughts from you folks...???" All questions answered, thus: THE WRITERS FOR THE SHOW ARE WHITE.

  • Akimbo | November 5, 2012 1:37 PM

    The writer may have been assigned to write this episode, but definitely didn't make the decision to kill the character off. Those types of decisions come from the showrunner, producers, and entire writers room as a whole.

  • Darkan | November 5, 2012 12:47 PM

    Actually, the writer of last night's episode was Asian.

  • Michele | November 5, 2012 11:31 AMReply

    I thought about it after, T-Dog was of course going to have to go since 2 other black people were on the show. But did he HAVE to die for Carol, she's almost as bad as Lori. And as far as the convict that let all the zombies back in the jail, why didn't he just keep running? I would have rather have taken my chances on the road. I'm not getting Andrea this season at all, she started the season sick and now she's gone all Jonestown, if she wants to screw the Governor she should just be honest about it and let Michonne leave. -- It's funny they kill TDog off just when he could have had a story - since he was the reason Merle got stuck on the roof in the first place, it could have been interesting to see how that would play out -- oh well.

  • sergio | November 5, 2012 11:48 AM

    C'mon didn't you just KNOW he was going to go out like that from the moment he first appeared? Sacrificing his life for one of the white characters. It was practically written across that massive forehead of his

  • Brenda | November 5, 2012 10:42 AMReply

    I was happy to see T-Dog on the show, I had hoped eventually they would give him more opportunity to shine, fall in love or something, I am very disappointed that he was killed off. I guess it would be to much to have to black men in the same space in a positive role. And Michonne cares about the girl, they've been together for 8mos fighting zombies. She knows she doesn't need her, but she wants the best for her. But I think Andrea is stupid anyway and I wish Michonne would leave her behind anyway, let her stay there with that man, that's what it seems like she's trying to do.

  • Jug | November 6, 2012 5:18 PM

    Sergio, I'm with you 100% LOL

  • sergio | November 5, 2012 10:57 AM

    Personally I was relieved to see him finally get it. (And WOW he got it good!) The first black guy ever in a horror show that I actually wanted to see get it first. About time. He was a load with no personality. I was even happier to see Rick's wife get it too. Couldn't stand her skinny ass either. I agree about Michonne. When is she going to break through and why is she hanging around that dumb broad when everyone knows the governor is up to no good.

  • Darkan | November 5, 2012 10:25 AMReply

    Hollywood writers obviously doesn't care about black characters on shows like these. They have no idea how to identify or to write truthfully about black people. The ironic thing is that the damn show is shot in Atlanta where the majority of the population is black! They sure enough had enough black prisoners and zombies though but no storyline, no dialogue or love interst for the whole time T-Dog was on the show. Maybe he was celibate and mute? SMH.

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